Chicago retailers rejoice…sort of. Vacancy rate dips in Q2

The industry has been battered by the e-commerce onslaugh
August 12, 2019 03:31PM

Chicago’s retail vacancy rate dipped in the second quarter of 2019. (Credit: iStock)

Chicago’s retail vacancy rate dipped in the second quarter of 2019. (Credit: iStock)

Vacancy rates for the Chicago retail market dipped slightly in the second quarter, temporary reprieve from what has been a brutal period for an industry battered by the e-commerce onslaught.

The vacancy rate at the end of the second quarter stood at 11.1 percent, just above the first quarter’s 11.6 percent, according to CBRE, as reported in Crain’s.

In 2016, local retail vacancy was at 9 percent, a recent low, according to Crain’s. But since then, it has hovered near the post-recession high of just over 12 percent, as the industry deals with major retail closures from the likes of Sears and Carson’s and others.

The retail industry’s woes have hit big commercial strips including Michigan Avenue, which is facing historic high vacancy. But there are some encouraging signs for those markets.

Retail sales rose 3.5 percent in Chicago last year, and new, formerly online-only retailers are now establishing a brick-and-mortar presence.

European fashion chain Primark has inked the biggest State Street retail lease since 2014. The diversification of retail storefronts, to include uses like food halls and fitness centers, has also helped the industry in a trying time, Crain’s reported. [Crain’s]Joe Ward